(October 30, 2017 – Elberton) Elbert County Comprehensive High School (ECCHS) was selected as one of five Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) Capacity Building Pilots to receive a Career Specialist for Transition funded by GVRA. In collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), Division for Special Education Services and Supports, five pilots were invited to participate including Fulton County, Elbert County, Gainesville City, Henry County and Houston County School Systems. Christi Duncan, ECCHS alumni and resident of Bowman, has been named as the new Career Specialist for Elbert County. She is a GVRA Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Auburn University, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Ashford University where she remained on the Dean’s List throughout the Bachelors and Master’s degree programs.

Through the assignment of GVRA funded Career Specialists to five pilot Local Education Agencies (LEA’s), the GaDOE, GVRA and LEA will work collaboratively to provide leadership, planning, technical assistance, and consultation, and to coordinate services and evaluate the effectiveness of a district-based Career Specialist for Transition to meet the requirements of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) as defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). One of the new provisions in WIOA requires Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), in collaboration with the LEA, to provide, or arrange for the provision of, pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities in Georgia secondary schools who are eligible or potentially eligible for services.

Services and support will be provided to students with disabilities in 9th -12th grades, ages 14 years through age 21 years statewide. With an expanded scope of work for students with disabilities, collaboration is essential. To meet this goal, a strong partnership with the Division of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) as well as the Division for Special Education Services and Supports is required to support effective transition services. To meet the requirements of WIOA, GVRA and GaDOE recognize capacity building is necessary as current staffing levels will not support the increased demand and need to support students with disabilities and their families across the state.

This position was created to help meet staff capacity by providing motivated personnel who will work in collaboration with LEA’s and VR. Under general supervision, the Career Specialist will work directly with the students, teachers, administrators, and families in the areas of job exploration counseling, work based learning experiences, transition or postsecondary educational programs, workplace readiness and social skills support, independent living skills and self-advocacy training. The Career Specialist will be the designated subject matter expert on Dual Enrollment, Apprenticeships, Work Based Learning, Career Pathways and the High Demand Career Initiatives to ensure students with disabilities succeed in Career Pathways. In addition, the position will be responsible for providing services to the most significantly disabled students and enforcing Section 511 of WIOA, which ensures that youth with disabilities seeking subminimum wage employment receive transition services under IDEA.